marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Creature and Character

I was on half of this.  (The shuttle bus didn't deliver me before then.)  It's about how a character's being non-human should affect its character

I arrived as they were talking about vampires, and after a bit, I and another panelist were given the chance to introduce ourselves.  So I gave my story about how I used to write with Tolkienesque races and one day devised a question -- "Is this elf necessary?" -- that suddenly transformed my fantasies into humans-only.  And while I have written non-human characters since then, they have been much less -- human.  And I told about a tribe in South America that had three numbers, "one" "two" "many", and practiced infanticide.  When the anthropologist said they killed more girls than boys, they contradicted him; they killed many of both.  Whereupon other panelists riffed on the notion of not being human for a bit. 

And then about how being not human makes it feasible for them to evil and cool -- to which I objected that you can do that with humans to, a lot of fanfic writers are madly in love with Draco Malfoy, who isn't even very impressively evil. 

And we talked about point of view and how it can make your character more human.  OTOH, that can be problematic for a human, too.  There are Sherlock Holmes stories told from his point of view -- considerably worse than the Watson ones, because we know real humans have hesitancies and doubts that don't show, and Holmes doesn't, because it would dent his rational persona.  And there's a Jeeves story from his point of view, where the weakness is that he has to have motives, and he's much more impressive cooly pulling off his plans without a care in the world.
Tags: arisia, characters, point of view, world-building: non-human characters

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